In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death. In fact, one in four deaths caused by heart disease. This is why it is important to be proactive about your cholesterol levels and take steps to manage and control them. During National Cholesterol Education Month in September, we want to help you learn more about cholesterol and how you can keep your heart healthy!
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in the bloodstream and in all of our cells. Our liver produces cholesterol, but we also get it from the food we eat. Cholesterol is necessary for many functions in the body, including cell membrane structure, hormone production, and digestion. However, too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease.
There are two types of cholesterol: “good” HDL cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the blood vessels and takes it back to the liver where it is broken down. LDL cholesterol buildup can cause plaque formation in the arteries which can lead to heart attacks or strokes. Therefore, it is important to have a healthy balance of HDL and LDL cholesterol.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol does not usually cause any symptoms, which is why it is often called the “silent killer”. This is why it is important to get your cholesterol checked regularly by your doctor. However, there are some signs and symptoms that may be associated with high cholesterol, including:
* Chest pain or discomfort
* Shortness of breath
* Pain in the jaw, neck, or arms
* Numbness or coldness in the extremities
* Fatigue or weakness
If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to see your doctor right away as they may be indicative of a more serious condition.
What are the Risks of High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, which as we mentioned before, is the leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, people with high cholesterol are four times more likely to develop heart disease than those with normal cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can also lead to other conditions such as strokes and peripheral artery disease.
How Can I Prevent High Cholesterol?
There are several things you can do to prevent high cholesterol or keep it under control if you already have it. First, eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated fats and trans fats and rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. You should also exercise regularly and avoid smoking. In addition, you should get your cholesterol checked regularly by your doctor so that you can catch it early and take steps to manage it.
If you have high cholesterol, there are several treatments available that can help lower your levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. These include lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery. Be sure to talk to your doctor about which treatment option is right for you.
We hope this information has been helpful in learning more about high cholesterol and how to prevent it.